Lest we Forget

16 Dec 2013

 If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck it is probably a politician”

lest we forget

I have just watched our beloved Prime Minister, very professionally and with apparent sincerity, make an announcement regarding the death of the latest Special Forces Commando in Afghanistan, and the wounding of another Soldier and an Airman. I watched her offer the most sincere condolances to the family of the killed and wounded combatants. She also highlighted the fact that yesterday she helped open a memorial in Cairns (only partly funded by the government) for the 40 soldiers killed in Afghanistan. At the conclusion of the interview she was asked a couple of soft, related questions by the media, which allowed for some more political grand-standing and the polishing of her persona during this video opportunity. If I was there, these are the questions I would have put to the Prime Minister\u2026

“Prime Minister\u2026 in light of the sincere condolences to the families of the killed and injured soldiers, could you please tell the dead soldiers spouse how she will be treated financially in the coming years, and how that financial support will stand the test-of-time, say, compared to that of a spouse of a deceased politician?” Also if the other seriously injured soldier becomes Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) and leaves the service, how he will be treated for the rest of his life?

The answer will be short on facts and will not be answered correctly. In the answer she will not say\u2026 the spouse will only get 62% of his pension compared to a politicians 82% (rounded). She will not say that the spouses pension will be indexed against the CPI, whereas the politicians spouse will get an on-going payment tied to the salary of a back-bencher. Over time the soldiers spouse payment will reduce to next to nothing (e.g. 40% over the past 20 years – ABS). She will not say that the government commitment will end there, and any additional help will have to come from Legacy; a voluntary organisation supported by veterans, servicemen and women, and volunteers drawn from all walks of life. In simple terms\u2026 charity. She will not say that her government will; lie, distort statistics, falsify figures, stage manage enquiries, call the spouses payment generous, manipulate life-expectancy tables, and even attack her if she dares to highlight the unfairness of her treatment. She will not say the soldiers spouse will have to pay tax on her payment for the rest of her life (even after retirement age), even though the politicians wife and the general public do not. We wont even get into the fact that military personnel contribute to their superannuation scheme, whereas politicians (pre 2004) did not, and we do not enjoy the benefits of public super schemes such as; being able to rollover into other schemes, get any interest if we leave the scheme before 20 years services, being able to get access to the money on retirement, etc.

In regard to the TPI recipients she will not highlight the exclusion of the Veterans Disability Pensions from the 2009/10 Budget initiative, further accentuated the existing disparity for Veterans Disability Pensioners who have suffered a disability as a result of their service to the nation and has meant that the relative value of Veterans Disability Pensions measured against the other pensions has diminished.

Just prior to the telecast there was a cross to Sydney harbour, where the Attorney General was commenting on the case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, that will be held this week , regarding Japans so-called scientific research killing of 100,000 plus whales. He mentioned the millions of dollars we are spending on funding this challenge. My initial thought turned to the inequality in the way we treat whales to that of our own veteran community. Given half the chance they would preferably harpoon the lot of us, or wait until we are an endangered species before doing anything about fair indexation.

There simply arent enough negative adjectives that describe the “card-carrying” “line-toeing” zombies that is known as the Labor Party. You might be thinking, here is a Liberal voter that is trying to poo-poo the Labor movement. Well with my hand on my heart, I have always voted Labor\u2026 but never again. I have never voted Liberal either as they had 11 years to fix the same issue, but didnt, so they will also never get my vote. Even though they are promising to fix the indexation (for over 55s only), I can guarantee we will get the “wait” statement once the LNP is elected, by saying they did not know how bad the financial situation really was, and we will have to wait again for a “fair go.”

My mum always said to me\u2026 “you can tell a guilty person as they always attack their accuser instead of defending their actions.” Last week Minister Snowdon said in response to a question in Parliament from Peter Slipper (Fisher – Sunshine Coast) “nevertheless there is an issue which has been created by some people within the ex-service organisations trying to conflate the issue of fair indexation.” Well thanks for the declaration of guilt from (the soon to be) Mr Snowdon… and thank you for the recognition that we are getting through to you… we will not forget, and we will not stop.